Black Ferns to play curtain-raiser against Australia in October

The New Zealand women's rugby team, the Black Ferns, will play the curtain-raiser against the Australian Wallaroos before the Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland. 

The matches will take place on 22 and 26 of October at Eden Park and QBE Stadium on the North Shore, respectively.

At the end of the year, they will also go on tour to the United Kingdom where they will take on Canada, Ireland and England.

Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore says the five test matches are an important part of the build-up to the Women's Rugby World Cup in Ireland in August 2017.

“This is a very big year for the Black Ferns and we’re really excited about the programme. Last year there were 12 new caps in the side we took to Canada and they proved themselves on a world stage. This year we'll be looking to build on our success and begin our preparation for the World Cup.

We’ve been running a training, and strength and conditioning programme for more than 50 players since the beginning of the year and the players have been working really hard. We're looking at the pool of players now and the Farah Palmer Cup will be vital for helping finalise our squad,” he says. 

Moore also says the confirmation of a five-test programme shows that New Zealand is committed to women's rugby and the Black Ferns. 

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) Chief Executive Steve Tew said women’s rugby was a priority for the organisation.

“This year’s international programme also gives the team a chance to play in front of their New Zealand fans, family and friends. The match against the Wallaroos at Eden Park will make for an exciting double header of Trans-Tasman rugby.”